Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says it was 'only a matter of time' before the 2017 F1 title battle between itself and Ferrari would turn 'controversial' following Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel's coming together in Baku.

Ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, the FIA has decided not to further punish Vettel for his part in colliding intentionally with Hamilton under safety car conditions during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Despite the contentious ruling, Wolff says Mercedes is willing to 'draw a line' under the verdict and embrace a fierce' dynamic to its title battle with Ferrari.

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"Every great Formula One season is marked by a great rivalry. Last year it was our internal battle between Lewis and Nico and this year it seems that the fight is on between Ferrari and Mercedes and Lewis and Sebastian.

"As calm as it started, it was only a matter of time until the rivalry would eventually become more fierce and controversial. That moment happened in Baku and we saw the results of that tension on track.

"We have moved passed that moment now and it is a closed chapter. The hearing on Monday was between the FIA and Sebastian and it reached the conclusion we have all seen.

"Our focus since Baku has been on our own shortcomings, reviewing both the design and procedures around our headrest which cost Lewis the win two weeks ago.

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"There is great respect between Mercedes and Ferrari, two iconic motor racing brands, not only because of the challenging battle on track but because we are pushing for the same goal: to see Formula One flourish.

"The new owners could hardly have asked for a better start to this new era than this epic battle between Mercedes and Ferrari. Add to the mix a Red Bull team that can win as well and it makes Formula One into a great spectacle."

With Hamilton finishing behind Vettel in Baku after an issue with his headrest forced him to pit from the lead to fix it, the three-time world champion arrives in Spielberg 14 points behind his Ferrari rival.


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